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Full text of "Poems by Emily Dickinson"

Ai? 




THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 
OF CALIFORNIA 

BEQUEST 

OF 
ANITA D. S. BLAKE 



POEMS 

BY 

EMILY DICKINSON 

THIRD SERIES 



EMILY DICKINSON'S POEMS. 

Edited by two of her friends, Mabel Loomis 
Todd and T. W. Higginson. 

FIRST AND SECOND SERIES. i6mo, cloth, 
price of each, $1.25; white and green 
cloth, full gilt, price of each, $1.50. 



ROBERTS BROTHERS, PUBLISHERS, 
Boston. 



POEMS 



BY 



EMILY DICKINSON 



MABEL LOOMIS TODD 



THIRD SERIES 



BOSTON 

ROBERTS BROTHERS 
1896 



Copyright, 1896, 
BY ROBERTS BROTHERS. 



fflmbersitg 
JOHN WILSON AND SON, CAMBRIDGE, U. S. A. 



TT 's all I have to bring to-day, 

This, and my heart beside, 
This, and my heart, and all the fields, 

And all the meadows wide. 
Be sure you count, should I forget, 

Some one the sum could tell, 
This, and my heart, and all the bees 
Which in the clover dwell. 



PREFACE. 



'"PHE intellectual activity of Emily Dickinson was 
so great that a large and characteristic choice 
is still possible among her literary material, and this 
third volume of her verses is put forth in response 
to the repeated wish of the admirers of her peculiar 
genius. 

Much of Emily Dickinson's prose was rhythmic, 
even rhymed, though frequently not set apart in 
lines. Also many verses, written as such, were sent 
to friends in letters; these were published in 1894, 
in the volumes of her Letters. It has not been 
necessary, however, to include them in this Series, 
and all have been omitted, except three or four 
exceptionally strong ones, as " A Book," and " With 
Flowers." 



viii PREFACE. 

There is internal evidence that many of the poems 
were simply spontaneous flashes of insight, appar 
ently unrelated to outward circumstance. Others, 
however, had an obvious personal origin ; for example, 
the verses "I had a Guinea golden," which seem to 
have been sent to some friend travelling in Europe, 
as a dainty reminder of letter-writing delinquencies. 
The surroundings in which any of Emily Dickinson's 
verses are known to have been written usually serve 
to explain them clearly; but in general the present 
volume is full of thoughts needing no interpretation 
to those who apprehend this scintillating spirit. 

M. L. T. 

AMHERST, October, 1896. 



CONTENTS. 



PRELUDE v 

PREFACE vii 

BOOK I. LIFE. PAGE 

I. Real Riches \ . ; 13 

II. Superiority to Fate 14 

III. Hope .-..-.- ^ .-. . 15 

IV. Forbidden Fruit (r) . . ,' 16 

V. Forbidden Fruit (2) 17 

VI. A Word 18 

VII. " To venerate the simple days " 19 

VIII. Life's Trades ../.>.;.-... 20 

IX. " Drowning is not so pitiful " 21 

X. " How still the bells in steeples stand" .... 22 

XL " If the foolish call them ' flowers ' " 23 

XII. A Syllable 25 



CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

XIII. Parting 

XIV. Aspiration 

XV. The Inevitable 2 

XVI. A Book : 

XVII. " Who has not found the heaven below ". . 3 

XVIII. A Portrait .... 3 1 

XIX. I had a Guinea Golden 3 2 

XX. Saturday Afternoon 34 

XXI. "Few get enough, enough is one" ... 35 

XXII. "Upon the gallows hung a wretch" . . . 3 6 

XXIII. The Lost Thought 37 

XXIV. Reticence 3 

XXV. With Flowers 39 

XXVI. " The farthest thunder that I heard "... 40 

XXVII. "On the bleakness of my lot" 4* 

XXVIII. Contrast 4 * 

XXIX. Friends 43 

XXX. Fire 44 

XXXI. A Man 4S 

XXXII. Ventures 4<5 

XXXIII. Griefs 47 

XXXIV. " I have a king who does not speak "... 49 



CONTENTS. 3 

PAGE 

XXXV. Disenchantment 50 

XXXVI. Lost Faith 51 

XXXVII. Lost Joy 52 

XXXVIII. " I worked for chaff, and earning wheat " . 53 

XXXIX. " Life, and Death, and Giants " 54 

XL. Alpine Glow 55 

XLI. Remembrance 56 

XLII. " To hang our head ostensibly " 57 

XLIII. The Brain 58 

XLIV. " The bone that has no marrow " .... 59 

XLV. The Past 60 

XLVI. " To help our bleaker parts " 61 

XLVII. What soft, cherubic creatures " .... 62 

XLVIII. Desire 63 

XLIX. Philosophy 64 

L. Power 65 

LI. " A modest lot, a fame petite " 66 

LIT. " Is bliss, then, such abyss " 67 

LIII. Experience 68 

LIV. Thanksgiving Day 69 

LV. Childish Griefs 70 



CONTENTS. 



BOOK II. LOVE. 

PAGE 

I. Consecration 73 

II. Love's Humility 74 

III. Love . . . . 75 

IV. Satisfied 7^ 

V. With a Flower 7 

VI. Song 79 

,VII. Loyalty 8o 

VIII. " To lose thee, sweeter than to gain" ... 81 

IX. " Poor little heart 1 " 82 

X. Forgotten 8 3 

XL " I 've got an arrow here " $5 

XII. The Master 86 

XIII. " Heart, we will forget him ! " 87 

XIV. "Father, I bring thee not myself" .... 88 
XV. "We outgrow love, like other things" ... 89 

XVI. " Not with a club the heart is broken "... 90 

XVII. Who? 9I 

XVIII. " He touched me, so I live to know "... 9 2 

XIX. Dreams . . 93 

XX. Numen Lumen 94 



CONTENTS. 5 

PAGE 
XXI. Longing 95 

XXII. Wedded 97 



BOOK HI. NATURE, 

I. Nature's Changes 101 

II. The Tulip 102 

III. "A light exists in spring" 103 

IV. The Waking Year 105 

V. To March 106 

VI. March .....;. 108 

VII. Dawn 109 

VIII. "A murmur in the trees to note " .... no 

IX. "Morning is the place for dew " 112 

X. "To my quick-ears the leaves conferred " . . 113 

XL A Rose 114 

XII. " High from the earth I heard a bird " . . . 115 

XIII. Cobwebs 116 

XIV. A Well . 117 

XV. " To make a prairie it takes a clover " ... 119 

XVI. The Wind . , . 120 

XVII. " A dew sufficed itself " 121 



6 CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

XVIII. The Woodpecker 122 

XIX. A Snake 123 

XX. "Could I but ride indefinite" 124 

XXL The Moon . 125 

XXII. The Bat . . 127 

XXIII. The Balloon 128 

XXIV. Evening 13 

XXV. Cocoon ....*'. 131 

XXVI. Sunset I3 2 

XXVII. Aurora 133 

XXVIII. The Coming of Night 134 

XXIX. Aftermath 136 



BOOK IV. TIME AND ETERNITY. 

I. "This world is not conclusion" 139 

II. " We learn in the retreating " 140 

III. 4< They say that ' time assuages '" .... 141 

IV. " We cover thee, sweet face " 142 

V. Ending 143 

VI. " The stimulus, beyond the grave " .... 144 

VII. " Given in marriage unto thee " 145 



CON-TENTS. 7 

PAGE 

VIII. " That such have died enables us " .... 146 
IX. "They won't frown always, some sweet 

day" J 47 

X. Immortality H^ 

XI. " The distance that the dead have gone " . . 149 

XII. " How dare the robins sing " 15 

XIII. Death I S I 

XIV. Unwarned IS 2 

XV. " Each that we lose takes part of us " . . . 153 

XVI. " Not any higher stands the grave ". . . . 154 

XVII. Asleep *55 

XVIII. The Spirit 156 

XIX. The Monument 1 57 

XX. " Bless God, he went as soldiers " .... 158 

XXI. " Immortal is an ample word " 159 

XXII. " Where every bird is bold to go " . . . . 160 

XXIII. " The grave my little cottage is " 161 

XXIV. " This was in the white of the year "... 162 
XXV. " Sweet hours have perished here " ... 163 

XXVI. "Me! Come! My dazzled face " .... 164 

XXVII. Invisible l6 5 

XXVIII. " I wish I knew that woman's name "... 166 



8 CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

XXIX. Trying to Forget 167 

XXX. " I felt a funeral in my brain " 168 

XXXI. " I meant to find her when I came" . . . 169 

XXXII. Waiting ............ 170 

XXXIII. " A sickness of this world it most occasions " 171 

XXXIV. " Superfluous were the sun " 172 

XXXV. " So proud she was to die " 173 

XXXVI. Farewell . 174 

XXXVII. " The dying need but little, dear" ... 175 

XXXVIII. Dead 176 

XXXIX. " The soul should always stand ajar " . . 177 

XL. " Three weeks passed since I had seen her " 178 

XLI. " I breathed enough to learn the trick " . . 179 

XLII. " I wonder if the sepulchre " ...... 180 

XLIII. Joy in Death . 181 

XLIV. "If I may have it when it's dead" ... 182 

XLV. " Before the ice is in the pools " .... 183 

XLVI. Dying 184 

XLVII. "Adrift! A little boat adrift 1 " .' . . . 185 

XLVIII. "There's been a death in the opposite house" 186 

XLIX. "We never know we go, when we are 

going" 188 



CONTENTS. 9 

PAGE 

L. The Soul's Storm 189 

LI. " Water is taught by thirst " 190 

LIT. Thirst I9 1 

LIII. " A clock stopped not the mantel's " . . 192 

LIV. Charlotte Bronte's Grave 193 

LV. ' A toad can die of light ! " 195 

LVI. " Far from love the Heavenly Father " . . 196 

LVII. Sleeping 1 97 

LVIII. Retrospect J 98 

LIX. Eternity 2O 



I. 

LIFE. 



POEMS. 



i. 

REAL RICHES. 

IS little I could care for pearls 

Who own the ample sea ; 
Or brooches, when the Emperor 
With rubies pelteth me ; 

i 

Or gold, who am the Prince of Mines 

Or diamonds, when I see 
A diadem to fit a dome 

Continual crowning me. 



14 POEMS. 



II. 
SUPERIORITY TO FATE. 

OUPERIORITY to fate 
*p Is difficult to learn. 
'T is not conferred by any, 
But possible to earn 

A pittance at a time, 
Until, to her surprise, 

The soul with strict economy 
Subsists till Paradise. 



POEMS. 15 



III. 
HOPE. 

T T OPE is a subtle glutton ; 

He feeds upon the fair ; 
And yet, inspected closely, 
What abstinence is there ! 

His is the halcyon table 
That never seats but one, 

And whatsoever is consumed 
The same amounts remain. 



1 6 POEMS. 



IV. 
FORBIDDEN FRUIT, 



FORBIDDEN fruit a flavor has 
That lawful orchards mocks ; 
How luscious lies the pea within 
The pod that Duty locks ! 



POEMS. 



V. 

FORBIDDEN FRUIT. 

H. 

TJ EAVEN is what I cannot reach 

The apple on the tree, 
Provided it do hopeless hang, 
That ' heaven ' is, to me. 

The color on the cruising cloud, 

The interdicted ground 
Behind the hill, the house behind, 

There Paradise is found ! 



POEMS. 



A 



VI. 
A WORD. 

WORD is dead 
When it is said, 

Some say. 
I say it just 
Begins to live 

That day. 



POEMS. 19 



VII. 

HPO venerate the simple days 
-* Which lead the seasons by, 
Needs but to remember 

That from you or me 
They may take the trifle 

Termed mortality ! 

To invest existence with a stately air, 
Needs but to remember 

That the^acorn there 
Is the egg of forests 

For the upper air ! 



2Q POEMS. 



VIII. 
LIFE'S TRADES. 

IT 's such a little thing to weep, 
So short a thing to sigh ; 
And yet by trades the size of these 
We men and women die ! 



POEMS. 21 



IX. 

pvROWNING is not so pitiful 
*T As the attempt to rise. 
Three times, 't is said, a sinking man 

Comes up to face the skies, 
And then declines forever 

To that abhorred abode 
Where hope and he part company, 

For he is grasped of God. 
The Maker's cordial visage, 

However good to see, 
Is shunned, we must admit it, 

Like an adversity. 



22 POEMS. 



X. 



T T OW still the bells in steeples stand, 
** Till, swollen with the sky, 
They leap upon their silver feet 
In frantic melody ! 



POEMS. 23 



XL 

IF the foolish call them ' flowers,' 
Need the wiser tell? 
If the savans ' classify ' them, 
It is just as well ! 

Those who read the Revelations 

Must not criticise 
Those who read the same edition 

With beclouded eyes ! 

Could we stand with that old Moses 

Canaan denied, 
Scan, like him, the stately landscape 

On the other side, 

Doubtless we should deem superfluous 

Many sciences 
Not pursued by learned angels 

In scholastic skies ! 



24 POEMS. 

Low amid that glad Belles lettres 
Grant that we may stand, 

Stars, amid profound Galaxies, 
At that grand ' Right hand ' ! 



POEMS. 25 



XII. 
A SYLLABLE. 

COULD mortal lip divine 
The undeveloped freight 
Of a delivered syllable, 

? T would crumble with the weight. 



26 POEMS. 



XIII. 
PARTING. 

AT Y life closed twice before its close ; 
1VA It yet remains to see 
If Immortality unveil 
A third event to me, 

So huge, so hopeless to conceive, 

As these that twice befell. 
Parting is all we know of heaven, 

And all we need of hell. 



POEMS. 27 



XIV. 
ASPIRATION. 

WE never know how high we are 
Till we are called to rise ; 
And then, if we are true to plan, 
Our statures touch the skies. 

The heroism we recite 

Would be a daily thing, 
Did not ourselves the cubits warp 

For fear to be a king. 



28 POEMS. 



XV. 
THE INEVITABLE. 

TX7HILE I was fearing it, it came, 

* * But came with less of fear, 
Because that fearing it so long 

Had almost made it dear. 
There is a fitting a dismay, 

A fitting a despair. 
7 Tis harder knowing it is due, 

Than knowing it is here. 
The trying on the utmost, 

The morning it is new, 
Is terribler than wearing it 

A whole existence through. 



POEMS. 29 



XVI. 
A BOOK. 

is no frigate like a book 
*- To take us lands away, 
Nor any coursers like a page 

Of prancing poetry. 
This traverse may the poorest take 

Without oppress of toll ; 
How frugal is the chariot 
That bears a human soul ! 



3<D POEMS. 



XVII. 

"Y X 7 HO has not found the heaven below 
VV Will fail of it above. 
God's residence is next to mine, 
His furniture is love. 



POEMS. 31 



XVIII. 
A PORTRAIT. 

A FACE devoid of love or grace, 
A hateful, hard, successful face, 
A face with which a stone 
Would feel as thoroughly at ease 
As were they old acquaintances, 
First time together thrown. 



32 POEMS. 

XIX. 
I HAD A GUINEA GOLDEN. 

T HAD a guinea golden ; 

-* I lost it in the sand, 

And though the sum was simple, 

And pounds were in the land, 
Still had it such a value 

Unto my frugal eye, 
That when I could not find it 

I sat me down to sigh. 

I had a crimson robin 

Who sang full many a day, 
But when the woods were painted 

He, too, did fly away. 
Time brought me other robins, 

Their ballads were the same, 
Still for my missing troubadour 

I kept the * house at hame.' 



POEMS. 33 

I had a star in heaven ; 

One Pleiad was its name, 
And when I was not heeding 

It wandered from the same. 
And though the skies are crowded, 

And all the night ashine, 
I do not care about it, 

Since none of them are mine. 

My story has a moral : 

I have a missing friend, 
Pleiad its name, and robin, 

And guinea in the sand, 
And when this mournful ditty, 

Accompanied with tear, 
Shall meet the eye of traitor 

In country far from here, 
Grant that repentance solemn 

May seize upon his mind, 
And he no consolation 

Beneath the sun may find. 

NOTE. This poem may have had, like many others, a per 
sonal origin. It is more than probable that it was sent to 
some friend travelling in Europe, a dainty reminder of letter- 
writing delinquencies. 

'"_ 3 



34 POEMS. 



XX. 

SATURDAY AFTERNOON. 



T^ROM all the jails the boys and girls 
- Ecstatically leap, 
Beloved, only afternoon 
That prison does n't keep. 



They storm the earth and stun the air, 

A mob of solid bliss. 
Alas ! that frowns could lie in wait 

For such a foe as this ! 



POEMS. 



35 



XXI. 



get enough, enough is one ; 
To that ethereal throng 
Have not each one of us the right 
To stealthily belong ? 



POEMS. 



XXII. 

UPON the gallows hung a wretch, 
Too sullied for the hell 
To which the law entitled him. 

As nature's curtain fell 
The one who bore him tottered in, 

For this was woman's son. 
1 'T was all I had,' she stricken gasped ; 
Oh, what a livid boon ! 



POEMS. 37 



XXIII. 
THE LOST THOUGHT. 

T FELT a clearing in my mind 
* As if my brain had split ; 
I tried to match it, seam by seam, 
But could not make them fit. 

The thought behind I strove to join 
Unto the thought before, 

But sequence ravelled out of reach 
Like balls upon a floor. 



38 POEMS. 

XXIV. 
RETICENCE. 

r jPHE reticent volcano keeps 

His never slumbering plan ; 
Confided are his projects pink 
To no precarious man. 

If nature will not tell the tale 

Jehovah told to her, 
Can human nature not survive 

Without a listener ? 

Admonished by her buckled lips 
Let every babbler be. 

The only secret people keep 
Is Immortality. 



POEMS. 39 



XXV. 
WITH FLOWERS. 

T F recollecting were forgetting, 
*- Then I remember not ; 
And if forgetting, recollecting, 

How near I had forgot ! 
And if to miss were merry, 

And if to mourn were gay, 
How very blithe the fingers 

That gathered these to-day ! 



40 POEMS. 



XXVI. 

'"PHE farthest thunder that I heard 
* Was nearer than the sky, 
And rumbles still, though torrid noons 

Have lain their missiles by. 
The lightning that preceded it 

Struck no one but myself, 
But I would not exchange the bolt 

For all the rest of life. 
Indebtedness to oxygen 

The chemist may repay, 
But not the obligation 

To electricity. 
It founds the homes and decks the days, 

And every clamor bright 
Is but the gleam concomitant 

Of that waylaying light. 
The thought is quiet as a flake, 

A crash without a sound ; 
How life's reverberation 

Its explanation found ! 



POEMS. 4 1 



XXVII. 

the bleakness of my lot 
Bloom I strove to raise. 
Late, my acre of a rock 
Yielded grape and maize. 

Soil of flint if steadfast tilled 
Will reward the hand ; 

Seed of palm by Lybian sun 
Fructified in sand. 



42 POEMS. 



XXVIII. 
CONTRAST. 

A DOOR just opened on a street 

I, lost, was passing by 
An instant's width of warmth disclosed, 
And wealth, and company. 

The door as sudden shut, and I, 

I, lost, was passing by, 
Lost doubly, but by contrast most, 

Enlightening misery. 



POEMS. 43 



A ] 



XXIX. 

FRIENDS. 

RE friends delight or pain ? 
Could bounty but remain 
Riches were good. 



But if they only stay 
Bolder to fly away, 
Riches are sad. 



44 POEMS. 

XXX. 
FIRE. 

A SHES denote that fire was ; 
*~* Respect the grayest pile 
For the departed creature's sake 
That hovered there awhile. 

Fire exists the first in light, 
And then consolidates, 

Only the chemist can disclose 
Into what carbonates. 



POEMS. 45 

XXXI. 

A MAN. 

FATE slew him, but he did not drop ; 
She felled he did not fall 
Impaled him on her fiercest stakes 
He neutralized them all. 

She stung him, sapped his firm advance, 

But, when her worst was done, 
And he, unmoved, regarded her, 

Acknowledged him a man. 



46 POEMS. 



XXXII. 
VENTURES. 



T^INITE to fail, but infinite to venture. 
* For the one ship that struts the shore 
Many 's the gallant, overwhelmed creature 
Nodding in navies nevermore. 



POEMS. 47 

XXXIII. 
GRIEFS. 

T MEASURE every grief I meet 
-* With analytic eyes ; 
I wonder if it weighs like mine, 
Or has an easier size. 

I wonder if they bore it long, 

Or did it just begin ? 
I could not tell the date of mine, 

It feels so old a pain. 

I wonder if it hurts to live, 

And if they have to try, 
And whether, could they choose between, 

They would not rather die. 

I wonder if when years have piled 
Some thousands on the cause 

Of early hurt, if such a lapse 
Could give them any pause . 



48 POEMS. 

Or would they go on aching still 
Through centuries above, 

Enlightened to a larger pain 
By contrast with the love. 

The grieved are many, I am told ; 

The reason deeper lies, 
Death is but one and comes but once, 

And only nails the eyes. 

There 's grief of want, and grief of cold, 
A sort they call ' despair ; ' 

There 's banishment from native eyes, 
In sight of native air. 

And though I may not guess the kind 

Correctly, yet to me 
A piercing comfort it affords 

In passing Calvary, 

To note the fashions of the cross, 
Of those that stand alone, 

Still fascinated to presume 
That some are like my own. 



POEMS. 



49 



XXXIV. 

T HAVE a king who does not speak ; 
* So, wondering, thro' the hours meek 

I trudge the day away, 
Half glad when it is night and sleep, 
If, haply, thro' a dream to peep 

In parlors shut by day. 

And if I do, when morning comes, 
It is as if a hundred drums 

Did round my pillow roll, 
And shouts fill all my childish sky, 
And bells keep saying ' victory ' 

From steeples in my soul ! 

And if I don't, the little Bird 
Within the Orchard is not heard, 

And I omit to pray, 
' Father, thy will be done ' to-day, 
For my will goes the other way, 

And it were perjury ! 
4 



5<3 POEMS. 

XXXV. 
DISENCHANTMENT. 

T T dropped so low in my regard 
-* I heard it hit the ground, 
And go to pieces on the stones 
At bottom of my mind ; 

Yet blamed the fate that fractured, less 

Than I reviled myself 
For entertaining plated wares 

Upon my silver shelf. 



POEMS. 



XXXVI. 
LOST FAITH. 

lose one's faith surpasses 
The loss of an estate, 
Because estates can be 

Replenished, faith cannot. 

Inherited with life, 

Belief but once can be ; 

Annihilate a single clause, 
And Being 's beggary. 



52 POEMS. 

XXXVII. 
LOST JOY. 



T HAD a daily bliss 
A I half indifferent viewed, 
Till sudden I perceived it stir, 
It grew as I pursued, 

Till when, around a crag, 
It wasted from my sight, 

Enlarged beyond my utmost scope, 
I learned its sweetness right. 



POEMS. 53 



XXXVIII. 

T WORKED for chaff, and earning wheat 
* Was haughty and betrayed. 
What right had fields to arbitrate 
In matters ratified ? 

I tasted wheat, and hated chaff, 
And thanked the ample friend ; 

Wisdom is more becoming viewed 
At distance than at hand. 



54 POEMS. 



XXXIX. 

T IFE, and Death, and Giants 
*T* Such as these, are still. 
Minor apparatus, hopper of the mill, 
Beetle at the candle, 

Or a fife's small fame, 
Maintain by accident 

That they proclaim. 



POEMS. 55 



XL. 
ALPINE GLOW. 

OUR lives are Swiss, 
So still, so cool, 
Till, some odd afternoon, 
The Alps neglect their curtains, 
And we look farther on. 

Italy stands the other side, 
While, like a guard between, 

The solemn Alps, 

The siren Alps, 
Forever intervene ! 



56 POEMS. 



XLI. 
REMEMBRANCE. 



"D EMEMBRANCE has a rear and front, 
*^ ? T is something like a house ; 
It has a garret also 

For refuse and the mouse. 



Besides, the deepest cellar 
That ever mason hewed ; 

Look to it, by its fathoms 
Ourselves be not pursued. 



POEMS. 57 



XLII. 

' I A O hang our head ostensibly, 
* And subsequent to find 
That such was not the posture 
Of our immortal mind, 

Affords the sly presumption 
That, in so dense a fuzz, 

You, too, take cobweb attitudes 
Upon a plane of gauze ! 



58 POEMS. 



XLIII. 
THE BRAIN. 

r ~PHE brain is wider than the sky, 
For, put them side by side, 
The one the other will include 
With ease, and you beside. 

The brain is deeper than the sea, 
For, hold them, blue to blue, 

The one the other will absorb, 
As sponges, buckets do. 

The brain is just the weight of God, 
For, lift them, pound for pound, 

And they will differ, if they do, 
As syllable from sound. 



POEMS. 59 



XLIV. 

/ T > HE bone that has no marrow ; 
-*- What ultimate for that? 
It is not fit for table, 
For beggar, or for cat. 

A bone has obligations, 

A being has the same ; 
A marrowless assembly 

Is culpabler than shame. 

But how shall finished creatures 
A function fresh obtain ? 

Old Nicodemus' phantom 
Confronting us again ! 



60 POEMS. 



XLV. 
THE PAST. 

past is such a curious creature, 
To look her in the face 
A transport may reward us, 
Or a disgrace. 

Unarmed if any meet her, 

I charge him, fly ! 
Her rusty ammunition 

Might yet reply ! 



POEMS. 6 1 



XLVI. 

TO help our bleaker parts 
Salubrious hours are given, 
Which if they do not fit for earth 
Drill silently for heaven. 



62 POEMS. 



XLVII. 

T 17 HAT soft, cherubic creatures 
* * These gentlewomen are ! 

One would as soon assault a plush 
Or violate a star. 

Such dimity convictions, 

A horror so refined 
Of freckled human nature, 

Of Deity ashamed, 

It 's such a common glory, 

A fisherman's degree ! 
Redemption, brittle lady, 

Be so, ashamed of thee. 



POEMS. 63 



XLVIII. 
DESIRE. 

T X 7 HO never wanted, maddest joy 

* * Remains to him unknown ; 
The banquet of abstemiousness 
Surpasses that of wine. 

Within its hope, though yet ungrasped 

Desire's perfect goal, 
No nearer, lest reality 

Should disenthrall thy soul. 



64 POEMS. 



XLIX. 
PHILOSOPHY. 



T T might be easier 
* To fail with land in sight. 
Than gain my blue peninsula 
To perish of delight. 



POEMS. 65 



L. 
POWER. 

VT'OU cannot put a fire out ; 
^ A thing that can ignite 
Can go, itself, without a fan 
Upon the slowest night. 

You cannot fold a flood 
And put it in a drawer, 

Because the winds would find it out, 
And tell your cedar floor. 



66 POEMS. 



LI. 



A MODEST lot, a fame /*#/<?, 
** A brief campaign of sting and sweet 

Is plenty ! Is enough ! 
A sailor's business is the shore, 

A soldier's balls. Who asketh more 
Must seek the neighboring life ! 



POEMS. 67 



LII. 

T S bliss, then, such abyss 

* I must not put my foot amiss 

For fear I spoil my shoe ? 

I 'd rather suit my foot 
Than save my boot, 
For yet to buy another pair 
Is possible 
At any fair. 

But bliss is sold just once ; 
The patent lost 
None buy it any more. 



68 POEMS. 



LIII. 
EXPERIENCE. 

I STEPPED from plank to plank 
So slow and cautiously ; 
The stars about my head I felt, 
About my feet the sea. 

I knew not but the next 
Would be my final inch, 

This gave me that precarious gait 
Some call experience. 



POEMS. 69 



LIV. 
THANKSGIVING DAY. 

E day is there of the series 
Termed Thanksgiving day, 
Celebrated part at table, 
Part in memory. 

Neither patriarch nor pussy, 

I dissect the play ; 
Seems it, to my hooded thinking, 

Reflex holiday. 

Had there been no sharp subtraction 

From the early sum, 
Not an acre or a caption 

Where was once a room, 

Not a mention, whose small pebble 

Wrinkled any bay, 
Unto such, were such assembly, 

'T were Thanksgiving day. 



70 POEMS. 

LV. 

CHILDISH GRIEFS. 

O OFTENED by Time's consummate plush, 
^ How sleek the woe appears 
That threatened childhood's citadel 
And undermined the years ! 

Bisected now by bleaker griefs, 

We envy the despair 
That devastated childhood's realm, 

So easy to repair. 



II. 

LOVE. 



POEMS. 73 



I. 

CONSECRATION. 

TI)ROUD of my broken heart since thou didst break it, 
* Proud of the pain I did not feel till thee, 
Proud of my night since thou with moons dost slake it, 
Not to partake thy passion, my humility. 



74 POEMS. 

II. 

LOVE'S HUMILITY. 

TV/T Y worthiness is all my doubt, 
^ His merit all my fear, 

Contrasting which, my qualities 
Do lowlier appear ; 

Lest I should insufficient prove 

For his beloved need, 
The chiefest apprehension 

Within my loving creed. 

So I, the undivine abode 

Of his elect content, 
Conform my soul as 't were a church 

Unto her sacrament. 



POEMS. 75 



III. 

LOVE. 

T OVE is anterior to life, 
*-* Posterior to death, 
Initial of creation, and 
The exponent of breath. 



76 POEMS. 



IV. 

SATISFIED. 

E blessing had I, than the rest 
So larger to my eyes 
That I stopped gauging, satisfied, 
For this enchanted size. 

It was the limit of my dream, 
The focus of my prayer, 

A perfect, paralyzing bliss 
Contented as despair. 

I knew no more of want or cold, 

Phantasms both become, 
For this new value in the soul, 

Supremest earthly sum. 

The heaven below the heaven above 
Obscured with ruddier hue. 

Life's latitude leant over-full ; 
The judgment perished, too. 



POEMS. 77 

Why joys so scantily disburse, 

Why Paradise defer, 
Why floods are served to us in bowls, 

I speculate no more. 






78 POEMS. 



V. 

WITH A FLOWER. 

\\7 HEN roses cease to bloom, dear, 

And violets are done, 
When bumble-bees in solemn flight 
Have passed beyond the sun, 

The hand that paused to gather 

Upon this summer's day 
Will idle lie, in Auburn, 

Then take my flower, pray ! 



POEMS, 79 

VI. 
SONG. 

O UMMER for thee grant I may be 
^ When summer days are flown ! 
Thy music still when whippoorwill 
And oriole are done ! 

For thee to bloom, I '11 skip the tomb 

And sow my blossoms o'er ! 
Pray gather me, Anemone, 

Thy flower forevermore ! 



80 POEMS. 



VII. 
LOYALTY. 



OPLIT the lark and you '11 find the music, 
^ Bulb after bulb, in silver rolled, 
Scantily dealt to the summer morning, 
Saved for your ear when lutes be old. 



Loose the flood, you shall find it patent, 
Gush after gush, reserved for you ; 

Scarlet experiment ! sceptic Thomas, 

Now, do you doubt that your bird was true ? 



POEMS. 8 1 



VIII. 

lose thee, sweeter than to gain 
All other hearts I knew. 
'T is true the drought is destitute, 
But then I had the dew ! 

The Caspian has its realms of sand, 

Its other realm of sea ; 
Without the sterile perquisite 

No Caspian could be. 



82 POEMS. 



IX. 

little heart ! 
Did they forget thee? 
Then dinna care! Then dinna care! 

Proud little heart ! 
Did they forsake thee ? 
Be debonair ! Be debonair ! 

Frail little heart ! 
I would not break thee : 
Could'st credit me ? Could'st credit me ? 

Gay little heart ! 
Like morning glory 
Thou '11 wilted be ; thou '11 wilted be ! 



POEMS. 83 



X. 

FORGOTTEN. 

HERE is a word 
* Which bears a sword 

Can pierce an armed man. 
It hurls its barbed syllables, 

At once is mute again. 
But where it fell 
The saved will tell 

On patriotic day, 
Some epauletted brother 

Gave his breath away. 

Wherever runs the breathless sun, 
Wherever roams the day, 

There is its noiseless onset, 
There is its victory ! 



84 POEMS. 



Behold the keenest marksman ! 

The most accomplished shot 
Time's sublimest target 

Is a soul ' forgot' ! 



POEMS. 85 



XL 

T 'VE got an arrow here ; 

*- Loving the hand that sent it, 

I the dart revere. 

Fell, they will say, in ' skirmish ' ! 

Vanquished, my soul will know, 
By but a simple arrow 

Sped by an archer's bow. 



86 POEMS. 



XII. 
THE MASTER. 

T T E fumbles at your spirit 

*.* As players at the keys 
Before they drop full music on ; 
He stuns you by degrees, 

Prepares your brittle substance 

For the ethereal blow, 
By fainter hammers, further heard, 

Then nearer, then so slow 

Your breath has time to straighten, 
Your brain to bubble cool, 

Deals one imperial thunderbolt 
That scalps your naked soul. 



POEMS. 



XIII. 

HEART, we will forget him ! 
You and I, to-night ! 
You may forget the warmth he gave, 
I will forget the light. 

When you have done, pray tell me, 
That I my thoughts may dim ; 

Haste ! lest while you 're lagging, 
I may remember him ! 



POEMS. 



XIV. 

T^ATHER, I bring thee not myself, 
*- That were the little load ; 
I bring thee the imperial heart 
I had not strength to hold. 

The heart I cherished in my own 

Till mine too heavy grew, 
Yet strangest, heavier since it went, 

Is it too large for you ? 



POEMS. 89 



XV. 

T \ 7E outgrow love like other things 

* And put it in the drawer, 

Till it an antique fashion shows 
Like costumes grandsires wore. 



90 POEMS. 



XVI. 

OT with a club the heart is broken, 

Nor with a stone ; 
A whip, so small you could not see it, 
I Ve known 

To lash the magic creature 

Till it fell, 
Yet that whip's name too noble 

Then to tell. 

Magnanimous of bird 

By boy descried, 
To sing unto the stone 

Of which it died. 



POEMS. QI 



XVII. 
WHO? 

TV /T Y friend must be a bird, 
*** Because it flies ! 
Mortal my friend must be, 

Because it dies ! 
Barbs has it, like a bee. 
Ah, curious friend, 

Thou puzzlest me ! 



92 POEMS. 



XVIII. 

T T E touched me, so I live to know 
* * That such a day, permitted so, 

I groped upon his breast. 
It was a boundless place to me, 
And silenced, as the awful sea 

Puts minor streams to rest. 

And now, I 'm different from before, 
As if I breathed superior air, 

Or brushed a royal gown ; 
My feet, too, that had wandered so, 
My gypsy face transfigured now 

To tenderer renown. 



POEMS. 93 



XIX. 
DREAMS. 

T ET me not mar that perfect dream 
-^ -/ By an auroral stain, 
But so adjust my daily night 
That it will come again. 



94 POEMS. 



XX. 

NUMEN LUMEN. 

T LIVE with him, I see his face ; 
* I go no more away 
For visitor, or sundown ; 
Death's single privacy, 

The only one forestalling mine, 

And that by right that he 
Presents a claim invisible, 

No wedlock granted me. 

I live with him, I hear his voice, 

I stand alive to-day 
To witness to the certainty 

Of immortality 

Taught me by Time, the lower way, 

Conviction every day, 
That life like this is endless, 

Be judgment what it may. 



POEMS. 95 



XXI. 
LONGING. 



I 



ENVY seas whereon he rides, 

I envy spokes of wheels 
Of chariots that him convey, 
I envy speechless hills 



That gaze upon his journey ; 

How easy all can see 
What is forbidden utterly 

As heaven, unto me ! 

I envy nests of sparrows 
That dot his distant eaves, 

The wealthy fly upon his pane, 
The happy, happy leaves 

That just abroad his window 
Have summer's leave to be, 

The earrings of Pizarro 
Could not obtain for me. 



96 POEMS. 



I envy light that wakes him, 
And bells that boldly ring 

To tell him it is noon abroad, 
Myself his noon could bring, 

Yet interdict my blossom 
And abrogate my bee, 

Lest noon in everlasting night 
Drop Gabriel and me. 



POEMS. 97 

XXII. 
WEDDED. 

A SOLEMN thing it was, I said, 
** A woman white to be, 
And wear, if God should count me fit, 
Her hallowed mystery. 

A timid thing to drop a life 

Into the purple well, 
Too plummetless that it come back 

Eternity until. 



III. 

NATURE. 



POEMS. 10 1 






I. 

NATURE'S CHANGES. 

THE springtime's pallid landscape 
Will glow like bright bouquet, 
Though drifted deep in parian 
The village lies to-day. 

The lilacs, bending many a year, 
With purple load will hang ; 

The bees will not forget the tune 
Their old forefathers sang. 

The rose will redden in the bog, 

The aster on the hill 
Her everlasting fashion set, 

And covenant gentians frill, 

Till summer folds her miracle 
As women do their gown, 

Or priests adjust the symbols 
When sacrament is done. 



102 POEMS. 



II. 
THE TULIP. 

HE slept beneath a tree 
^ Remembered but by me. 

1 touched her cradle mute ; 
She recognized the foot, 
Put on her carmine suit, 

And see ! 



POEMS. IO3 



III. 

ALIGHT exists in spring 
Not present on the year 
At any other period. 

When March is scarcely here 

A color stands abroad 

On solitary hills 
That science cannot overtake, 

But human nature feds. 

It waits upon the lawn ; 

It shows the furthest tree 
Upon the furthest slope we know ; 

It almost speaks to me. 

Then, as horizons step, 

Or noons report away, 
Without the formula of sound, 

It passes, and we stay : 



IO4 POEMS. 



A quality of loss 

Affecting our content, 
As trade had suddenly encroached 

Upon a sacrament. 



POEMS. 105 



IV. 
THE WAKING YEAR. 

A LADY red upon the hill 
*^ Her annual secret keeps ; 
A lady white within the field 
In placid lily sleeps ! 

The tidy breezes with their brooms 
Sweep vale, and hill, and tree ! 

Prithee, my pretty housewives ! 
Who may expected be ? 

The neighbors do not yet suspect ! 

The woods exchange a smile 
Orchard, and buttercup, and bird 

In such a little while ! 

And yet how still the landscape stands, 
How nonchalant the wood, 

As if the resurrection 
Were nothing very odd ! 



106 POEMS. 

V. 
TO MARCH. 

TAEAR March, come in! 

*** How glad I am ! 

I looked for you before. 

Put down your hat 

You must have walked 

How out of breath you are ! 

Dear March, how are you ? 

And the rest? 

Did you leave Nature well ? 

Oh, March, come right upstairs with me, 

I have so much to tell ! 

I got your letter, and the birds' ; 

The maples never knew 

That you were coming, I declare, 

How red their faces grew ! 

But, March, forgive me 

And all those hills 



POEMS. 

You left for me to hue ; 
There was no purple suitable, 
You took it all with you. 

Who knocks ? That April ! 

Lock the door ! 

I will not be pursued ! 

He stayed away a year, to call 

When I am occupied. 

But trifles look so trivial 

As soon as you have come, 

That blame is just as dear as praise 

And praise as mere as blame. 



IO8 POEMS. 



VI. 
MARCH. 

T X 7E like March, his shoes are purple, 

* * He is new and high ; 
Makes he mud for dog and peddler, 

Makes he forest dry ; 
Knows the adder's tongue his coming, 

And begets her spot. 
Stands the sun so close and mighty 

That our minds are hot. 
News is he of all the others ; 

Bold it were to die 
With the blue-birds buccaneering 

On his British sky. 



POEMS. 109 



VII. 
DAWN. 

NOT knowing when the dawn will come 
I open every door ; 
Or has it feathers like a bird, 
Or billows like a shore ? 



I IO POEMS. 



VIII. 

A MURMUR in the trees to note, 
*^ Not loud enough for wind ; 
A star not far enough to seek, 
Nor near enough to find ; 

A long, long yellow on the lawn, 

A hubbub as of feet ; 
Not audible, as ours to us, 

But dapperer, more sweet ; 

A hurrying home of little men 

To houses unperceived, 
All this, and more, if I should tell, 

Would never be believed. 

Of robins in the trundle bed 

How many I espy 
Whose nightgowns could not hide the wings, 

Although I heard them try ! 



POEMS. 1 1 1 

But then I promised ne'er to tell ; 

How could I break my word ? 
So go your way and I '11 go mine, 

No fear you '11 miss the road. 



112 POEMS. 



IX. 

TV T ORNING is the place for dew, 
* Corn is made at noon, 
After dinner light for flowers, 
Dukes for setting sun ! 



POEMS. 113 



X. 



TO my quick ear the leaves conferred ; 
The bushes they were bells ; 
I could not find a privacy 
From Nature's sentinels. 

In cave if I presumed to hide, 

The walls began to tell; 
Creation seemed a mighty crack 

To make me visible. 



114 POEMS. 



XL 
A ROSE. 

A SEPAL, petal, and a thorn 
^*- Upon a common summer's morn, 
A flash of dew, a bee or two, 
A breeze 

A caper in the trees, 
And I 'm a rose ! 



POEMS. 1 1 5 



XII. 

T T IGH from the earth I heard a bird ; 
* * He trod upon the trees 
As he esteemed them trifles, 

And then he spied a breeze, 
And situated softly 

Upon a pile of wind 
Which in a perturbation 

Nature had left behind. 
A joyous-going fellow 

I gathered from his talk, 
Which both of benediction 

And badinage partook, 
Without apparent burden, 

I learned, in leafy wood 
He was the faithful father 

Of a dependent brood ; 
And this untoward transport 

His remedy for care, 
A contrast to our respites. 

How different we are ! 



Il6 POEMS. 

XIII. 
COBWEBS. 



THE spider as an artist 
Has never been employed 
Though his surpassing merit 
Is freely certified 

By every broom and Bridget 
Throughout a Christian land. 

Neglected son of genius, 
I take thee by the hand. 



POEMS. 1 1 7 



XIV. 
A WELL. 

WHAT mystery pervades a well ! 
The water lives so far, 
Like neighbor from another world 
Residing in a jar. 

The grass does not appear afraid ; 

I often wonder he 
Can stand so close and look so bold 

At what is dread to me. 

Related somehow they may be, 
The sedge stands next the sea, 

Where he is floorless, yet of fear 
No evidence gives he. 

But nature is a stranger yet ; 

The ones that cite her most 
Have never passed her haunted house, 

Nor simplified her ghost 



Il8 POEMS. 

To pity those that know her not 

Is helped by the regret 
That those who know her, know her less 

The nearer her they get. 



POEMS. 119 



XV. 

/ ~TO make a prairie it takes a clover 
A and one bee, -= 
One clover, and a bee, 
And revery. 

The revery alone will do 
If bees are few. 



I2O POEMS. 



XVI. 
THE WIND. 

TT's like the light, 
-*- A fashionless delight 
It 's like the bee, 
A dateless melody. 

It 's like the woods, 
Private like breeze, 

Phraseless, yet it stirs 
The proudest trees. 

It 's like the morning, 
Best when it 's done, 

The everlasting clocks 
Chime noon. 



POEMS. 121 



XVII. 

A DEW sufficed itself 
*\ And satisfied a leaf, 
And felt, ' how vast a destiny ! 
How trivial is life ! ' 

The sun went out to work, 
The day went out to play, 

But not again that dew was seen 
By physiognomy. 

Whether by day abducted, 
Or emptied by the sun 

Into the sea, in passing, 
Eternally unknown. 



122 POEMS. 



XVIII. 

THE WOODPECKER. 

T T IS bill an auger is, 
* * His head, a cap and frill. 
He laboreth at every tree, 
A worm his utmost goal. 



POEMS. 



123 



XIX. 
A SNAKE. 

O WEET is the swamp with its secrets, 
** Until we meet a snake ; 
'T is then we sigh for houses, 

And our departure take 
At that enthralling gallop 

That only childhood knows. 
A snake is summer's treason, 

And guile is where it goes. 



124 POEMS. 



XX. 



I but ride indefinite, 
As doth the meadow-bee, 
And visit only where I liked, 
And no man visit me, 

And flirt all day with buttercups, 
And marry whom I may, 

And dwell a little everywhere, 
Or better, run away 

With no police to follow, 

Or chase me if I do, 
Till I should jump peninsulas 

To get away from you, 

I said, but just to be a bee 

Upon a raft of air, 
And row in nowhere all day long, 

And anchor off the bar, 
What liberty ! So captives deem 

Who tight in dungeons are. 



POEMS. 12$ 



XXI. 
THE MOON. 

'"PHE moon was but a chin of gold 
* A night or two ago, 
And now she turns her perfect face 
Upon the world below. 

Her forehead is of amplest blond ; 

Her cheek like beryl stone ; 
Her eye unto the summer dew 

The likest I have known. 

Her lips of amber never part ; 

But what must be the smile 
Upon her friend she could bestow 

Were such her silver will ! 

And what a privilege to be 

But the remotest star ! 
For certainly her way might pass 

Beside your twinkling door. 



126 POEMS. 

Her bonnet is the firmament, 
The universe her shoe, 

The stars the trinkets at her belt, 
Her dimities of blue. 



POEMS. 127 



XXII. 
THE BAT. 

HP HE bat is dun with wrinkled wings 
* Like fallow article, 
And not a song pervades his lips, 
Or none perceptible. 

His small umbrella, quaintly halved, 

Describing in the air 
An arc alike inscrutable, 

Elate philosopher ! 

Deputed from what firmament 

Of what astute abode, 
Empowered with what malevolence 

Auspiciously withheld. 

To his adroit Creator 

Ascribe no less the praise ; 

Beneficent, believe me, 
His eccentricities. 



128 POEMS. 



XXIII. 
THE BALLOON. 

VT'OU Ve seen balloons set, have n't you? 
* So stately they ascend 
It is as swans discarded you 
For duties diamond. 

Their liquid feet go softly out 

Upon a sea of blond ; 
/They spurn the air as 't were too mean 

For creatures so renowned. 

Their ribbons just beyond the eye, 
They struggle some for breath, 

And yet the crowd applauds below ; 
They would not encore death. 

The gilded creature strains and spins, 

Trips frantic in a tree, 
Tears open her imperial veins 

And tumbles in the sea. 



POEMS. 129 

The crowd retire with an oath 

The dust in streets goes down, 
And clerks in counting-rooms observe, 

' 'T was only a balloon.' 



130 POEMS. 

XXIV. 
EVENING. 

'""PHE cricket sang, 
* And set the sun, 
And workmen finished, one by one, 
Their seam the day upon. 

The low grass loaded with the dew, 
The twilight stood as strangers do 
With hat in hand, polite and new, 
To stay as if, or go. 

A vastness, as a neighbor, came, 
A wisdom without face or name, 
A peace, as hemispheres at home, 
And so the night became. 



POEMS. 131 



XXV. 
COCOON. 

habitation of whom? 
Tabernacle or tomb, 
Or dome of worm, 
Or porch of gnome, 
Or some elf's catacomb ? 



132 POEMS. 



XXVI. 
SUNSET. 

A SLOOP of amber slips away 
** Upon an ether sea, * 
And wrecks in peace a purple tar, 
The son of ecstasy. 



POEMS. 133 

XXVII. 

AURORA. 

bronze and blaze 
The north, to-night ! 

So adequate its forms, 
So preconcerted with itself, 

So distant to alarms, 
An unconcern so sovereign 

To universe, or me, 
It paints my simple spirit 

With tints of majesty, 
Till I take vaster attitudes, 

And strut upon my stem, 
Disdaining men and oxygen, 

For arrogance of them. 

My splendors are menagerie ; 

But their competeless show 
Will entertain the centuries 

When I am, long ago, 
An island in dishonored grass, 

Whom none but daisies know. 



1 34 POEMS. 



XXVIII. 
THE COMING OF NIGHT. 

T T OW the old mountains drip with sunset, 
*--* And the brake of dun ! 
How the hemlocks are tipped in tinsel 
By the wizard sun ! 

How the old steeples hand the scarlet, 

Till the ball is full, 
Have I the lip of the flamingo 

That I dare to tell? 

Then, how the fire ebbs like billows, 

Touching all the grass 
With a departing, sapphire feature, 

As if a duchess pass ! 

How a small dusk crawls on the village 

Till the houses blot ; 
And the odd flambeaux no men carry 

Glimmer on the spot ! 



POEMS. 135 

Now it is night in nest and kennel, 

And where was the wood, 
Just a dome of abyss is nodding 

Into solitude ! 

These are the visions baffled Guido ; 

Titian never told ; 
Domenichino dropped the pencil, 

Powerless to unfold. 



136 POEMS. 

XXIX. 

AFTERMATH. 

'"THE murmuring of bees has ceased ; 
*- But murmuring of some 
Posterior, prophetic, 

Has simultaneous come, 

The lower metres of the year, 
When nature's laugh is done, 

The Revelations of the book 
Whose Genesis is June. 



IV. 
TIME AND ETERNITY. 



POEMS. 139 



I. 



HP HIS world is not conclusion ; 
*- A sequel stands beyond, 
Invisible, as music, 

But positive, as sound. 
It beckons and it baffles ; 

Philosophies don't know, 
And through a riddle, at the last, 

Sagacity must go. 
To guess it puzzles scholars ; 

To gain it, men have shown 
Contempt of generations, 

And crucifixion known. 



140 POEMS. 



II. 

TX7E learn in the retreating 
^ ^ How vast an one 
Was recently among us. 
A perished sun 

Endears in the departure 

How doubly more 
Than all the golden presence 

It was before ! 



POEMS. 141 



III. 



HpHEY say that ' time assuages,' 
* Time never did assuage ; 
An actual suffering strengthens, 
As sinews do, with age. 



Time is a test of trouble, 

But not a remedy. 
If such it prove, it prove too 

There was no malady. 



I4 2 POEMS. 



IV. 

cover thee, sweet face. 
Not that we tire of thee, 
But that thyself fatigue of us ; 

Remember, as thou flee, 
We follow thee until 

Thou notice us no more, 
And then, reluctant, turn away 

To con thee o'er and o'er, 
And blame the scanty love 

We were content to show, 
Augmented, sweet, a hundred fold 

If thou would'st take it now. 



POEMS. 143 

V. 

r 

ENDING. 



'T^HAT is solemn we have ended, 
* Be it but a play, 
Or a glee among the garrets, 
Or a holiday, 

Or a leaving home ; or later, 

Parting with a world 
We have understood, for better 

Still it be unfurled. 



144 POEMS. 



VI. 

'IP HE stimulus, beyond the grave 
" * His countenance to see, 
Supports me like imperial drams 
Afforded royally. 



POEMS. 145 



VII. 

IVEN in marriage unto thee, 

Oh, thou celestial host ! 
Bride of the Father and the Son, 
Bride of the Holy Ghost ! 

Other betrothal shall dissolve, 
Wedlock of will decay ; 

Only the keeper of this seal 
Conquers mortality. 



10 



146 POEMS. 



VIII. 



'"THAT such have died enables us 
* The tranquiller to die ; 
That such have lived, certificate 
For immortality. 



POEMS. 147 



IX. 



HpHEY won't frown always, some sweet day 
* When I forget to tease, 
They '11 recollect how cold I looked, 
And how I just said * please.' 

Then they will hasten to the door 

To call the little child, 
Who cannot thank them, for the ice 

That on her lisping piled. 



148 POEMS. 

X. 

IMMORTALITY. 

T T is an honorable thought, 
* And makes one lift one's hat, 
As one encountered gentlefolk 
Upon a daily street, 

That we Ve immortal place, 
Though pyramids decay, 

And kingdoms, like the orchard, 
Flit russetly away. 



POEMS. 149 



XI. 



T 



HE distance that the dead have gone 

Does not at first appear ; 
Their coming back seems possible 
For many an ardent year. 



And then, that we have followed them 
We more than half suspect, 

So intimate have we become 
With their dear retrospect. 



150 POEMS. 



XII. 

T T OW dare the robins sing, 

* When men and women hear 

Who since they went to their account 

Have settled with the year ! 
Paid all that life had earned 

In one consummate bill, 
And now, what life or death can do 

Is immaterial. 
Insulting is the sun 

To him whose mortal light, 
Beguiled of immortality, 

Bequeaths him to the night. 
In deference to him 

Extinct be every hum, 
Whose garden wrestles with the dew, 

At daybreak overcome ! 



POEMS. 1 5 i 



XIII. 
DEATH. 

"pvEATH is like the insect 
*^ > ^ Menacing the tree, 
Competent to kill it, 
But decoyed may be. 

Bait it with the balsam, 
Seek it with the knife, 

Baffle, if it cost you 
Everything in life. 

Then, if it have burrowed 
Out of reach of skill, 

Ring the tree and leave it, 
'T is the vermin's will. 



152 POEMS. 



XIV. 
UNWARNED. 

"IP IS sunrise, little maid, hast thou 

* No station in the day? 
'T was not thy wont to hinder so, 
Retrieve thine industry. 

'T is noon, my little maid, alas ! 

And art thou sleeping yet ? 
The lily waiting to be wed, 

The bee, dost thou forget? 

My little maid, 't is night ; alas, 

That night should be to thee 
Instead of morning ! Hadst thou broached 

Thy little plan to me, 
Dissuade thee if I could not, sweet, 

I might have aided thee. 



POEMS. 153 



XV. 

ACH that we lose takes part of us ; 

A crescent still abides, 
Which like the moon, some turbid night, 
Is summoned by the tides. 



154 POEMS. 



XVI. 

"VT OT any higher stands the grave 

For heroes than for men j 
Not any nearer for the child 
Than numb three-score and ten. 

This latest leisure equal lulls 
The beggar and his queen ; 

Propitiate this democrat 
By summer's gracious mien. 



POEMS. 155 

XVII. 
ASLEEP. 

A S far from pity as complaint, 
*^ As cool to speech as stone, 
As numb to revelation 
As if my trade were bone. 

As far from time as history, 

As near yourself to-day 
As children to the rainbow's scarf, 

Or sunset's yellow play 

To eyelids in the sepulchre. 

How still the dancer lies, 
While color's revelations break, 

And blaze the butterflies ! 



156 POEMS. 



XVIII. 
THE SPIRIT. 

"~P IS whiter than an Indian pipe, 

* 'T is dimmer than a lace ; 
No stature has it, like a fog, 
When you approach the place. 

Not any voice denotes it here, 

Or intimates it there ; 
A spirit, how doth it accost ? 

What customs hath the air? 

This limitless hyperbole 
Each one of us shall be ; 

'T is drama, if (hypothesis) 
It be not tragedy ! 



POEMS. 157 



XIX. 

THE MONUMENT. 

O HE laid her docile crescent down, 
**^ And this mechanic stone 
Still states, to dates that have forgot, 
The news that she is gone. 

So constant to its stolid trust, 
The shaft that never knew, 

It shames the constancy that fled 
Before its emblem flew. 



158 POEMS. 



XX. 



T3LESS God, he went as soldiers, 
*-* His musket on his breast ; 
Grant, God, he charge the bravest 
Of all the martial blest. 



Please God, might I behold him 

In epauletted white, 
I should not fear the foe then, 

I should not fear the fight. 



POEMS. 159 



XXI. 

T MMORTAL is an ample word 
-*" When what we need is by, 
But when it leaves us for a time, 
'T is a necessity. 

Of heaven above the firmest proof 

We fundamental know, 
Except for its marauding hand, 

It had been heaven below. 



I6O POEMS. 



XXII. 

T T 7 HERE every bird is bold to go, 
^ V And bees abashless play, 
The foreigner before he knocks 
Must thrust the tears away. 



POEMS. l6l 



HpHE grave my little cottage is, 
* Where, keeping house for thee, 
I make my parlor orderly, 
And lay the marble tea, 

For two divided, briefly, 

A cycle, it may be, 
Till everlasting life unite 

In strong society. 



ii 



1 62 POEMS. 



xxiy. 



T 



'HIS was in the white of the year, 

That was in the green, 
Drifts were as difficult then to think 
As daisies now to be seen. 



Looking back is best that is left, 

Or if it be before, 
Retrospection is prospect's half, 

Sometimes almost more. 



POEMS. 163 



XXV. 

OWEET hours have perished here ; 
^ This is a mighty room ; 
Within its precincts hopes have played, 
Now shadows in the tomb. 



1 64 POEMS. 



XXVI. 



TV/T E ! Come ! My dazzled face 
*y*- In such a shining place ! 

Me ! Hear ! My foreign ear 
The sounds of welcome near ! 



The saints shall meet 
Our bashful feet. 

My holiday shall be 
That they remember me ; 

My paradise, the fame 

That they pronounce my name. 



POEMS. 165 

XXVII. 

INVISIBLE. 

T^ROM us she wandered now a year, 
* Her tarrying unknown ; 
If wilderness prevent her feet, 
Or that ethereal zone 

No eye hath seen and lived, 

We ignorant must be. 
We only know what time of year 

We took the mystery. 



1 66 POEMS. 



XXVIII. 

T WISH I knew that woman's name, 
-^ So, when she comes this way, 
To hold my life, and hold my ears, 
For fear I hear her say 

She 's ' sorry I am dead,' again, 

Just when the grave and I 
Have sobbed ourselves almost to sleep, 

Our only lullaby. 



POEMS. 167 



XXIX. 
TRYING TO FORGET. 

BEREAVED of all, I went abroad, 
No less bereaved to be 
Upon a new peninsula, 
The grave preceded me, 

Obtained my lodgings ere myself, 
And when I sought my bed, 

The grave it was, reposed upon 
The pillow for my head. 

I waked, to find it first awake, 

I rose, it followed me ; 
I tried to drop it in the crowd, 

To lose it in the sea, 

In cups of artificial drowse 
To sleep its shape away, 

The grave was finished, but the spade 
Remained in memory. 



1 68 POEMS. 



XXX. 

T FELT a funeral in my brain, 

And mourners, to and fro, 
Kept treading, treading, till it seemed 
That sense was breaking through. 

And when they all were seated, 

A service like a drum 
Kept beating, beating, till I thought 

My mind was going numb. 

And then I heard them lift a box, 
And creak across my soul 

With those same boots of lead, again. 
Then space began to toll 

As all the heavens were a bell, 

And Being but an ear, 
And I and silence some strange race, 

Wrecked, solitary, here. 



POEMS. 169 



XXXI. 

T MEANT to find her when I came 
* Death had the same design ; 
But the success was his, it seems, 
And the discomfit mine. 

I meant to tell her how I longed 

For just this single time ; 
But Death had told her so the first, 

And she had hearkened him. 

To wander now is my abode ; 

To rest, to rest would be 
A privilege of hurricane 

To memory and me. 



I/O POEMS. 

XXXII. 

WAITING. 



T SING to use the waiting, 
* My bonnet but to tie, 
And shut the door unto my house ; 
No more to do have I, 

Till, his best step approaching, 

We journey to the day, 
And tell each other how we sang 

To keep the dark away. 



POEMS. 



XXXIII. 

A SICKNESS of this world it most occasions 
When best men die ; 
A wishfulness their far condition 
To occupy. 

A chief indifference, as foreign 

A world must be 
Themselves forsake contented, 

For Deity. 



POEMS. 



XXXIV. 

O UPERFLUOUS were the sun 

When excellence is dead ; 
He were superfluous every day, 
For every day is said 

That syllable whose faith 
Just saves it from despair, 

And whose ' I '11 meet you ' hesitates 
If love inquire, ' Where ? ' 

Upon his dateless fame 

Our periods may lie, 
As stars that drop anonymous 

From an abundant sky. 



POEMS. 173 



XXXV. 

OO proud she was to die 
*P It made us all ashamed 
That what we cherished, so unknown 
To her desire seemed. 

So satisfied to go 

Where none of us should be, 
Immediately, that anguish stooped 

Almost to jealousy. 



174 POEMS. 



XXXVI. 
FAREWELL. 

/ HPIE the strings to my life, my Lord, 
* Then I am ready to go ! 
Just a look at the horses 
Rapid ! That will do ! 

Put me in on the firmest side, 

So I shall never fall ; 
For we must ride to the Judgment, 

And it 's partly down hill. 

But never I mind the bridges, 
And never I mind the sea ; 

Held fast in everlasting race 
By my own choice and thee. 

Good-by to the life I used to live, 
And the world I used to know ; 

And kiss the hills for me, just once ; 
Now I am ready to go ! 



POEMS. 1 75 



XXXVII. 



HPHE dying need but little, dear, 
* A glass of water 's all, 
A flower's unobtrusive face 
To punctuate the wall, 



A fan, perhaps, a friend's regret, 
And certainly that one 

No color in the rainbow 

Perceives when you are gone. 



1/6 POEMS. 

XXXVIII. 
DEAD. 



* I "HERE 's something quieter than sleep 
* Within this inner room ! 
It wears a sprig upon its breast, 
And will not tell its name. 



Some touch it and some kiss it, 
Some chafe its idle hand ; 

It has a simple gravity 
I do not understand ! 

While simple-hearted neighbors 
Chat of the < early dead,' 

We, prone to periphrasis, 

Remark that birds have fled ! 



POEMS. 177 



XXXIX. 

HP HE soul should always stand ajar, 
A That if the heaven inquire, 
He will not be obliged to wait, 
Or shy of troubling her. 

Depart, before the host has slid 

The bolt upon the door, 
To seek for the accomplished guest, 

Her visitor no more. 



12 



1 78 POEMS. 



XL. 

THREE weeks passed since I had seen her, 
Some disease had vexed ; 
Twas with text and village singing 
I beheld her next, 

And a company our pleasure 

To discourse alone ; 
Gracious now to me as any, 

Gracious unto none. 

Borne, without dissent of either, 

To the parish night ; 
Of the separated people 

Which are out of sight ? 



POEMS. 179 



XLI. 

T BREATHED enough to learn the trick, 
-* And now, removed from air, 
I simulate the breath so well, 
That one, to be quite sure 

The lungs are stirless, must descend 

Among the cunning cells, 
And touch the pantomime himself. 

How cool the bellows feels ! 



POEMS. 



XLII. 

WONDER if the sepulchre 

Is not a lonesome way, 
When men and boys, and larks and June 
Go down the fields to hay ! 



I 



POEMS. -l8l 



XLIII. 
JOY IN DEATH. 

IF tolling bell I ask the cause. 
1 A soul has gone to God/ 
I 'm answered in a lonesome tone ; 
Is heaven then so sad ? 

That bells should joyful ring to tell 
A soul had gone to heaven, 

Would seem to me the proper way 
A good news should be given. 



1 82 POEMS. 



XLIV. 

T F I may have it when it 's dead 
* I will contented be ; 
If just as soon as breath is out 
It shall belong to me, 

Until they lock it in the grave, 

7 T is bliss I cannot weigh, 
For though they lock thee in the grave, 

Myself can hold the key. 

Think of it, lover ! I and thee 
Permitted face to face to be ; 

After a life, a death we '11 say, 
For death was that, and this is thee. 



POEMS. 183 



XLV. 

"DEFORE the ice is in the pools, 
* ' Before the skaters go, 
Or any cheek at nightfall 
Is tarnished by the snow, 

Before the fields have finished, 
Before the Christmas tree, 

Wonder upon wonder 
Will arrive to me ! 

What we touch the hems of 

On a summer's day ; 
What is only walking 

Just a bridge away ; 

That which sings so, speaks so, 
When there 's no one here, 

Will the frock I wept in 
Answer me to wear ? 



1 84 POEMS. 



XLVI. 
DYING. 

T HEARD a fly buzz when I died ; 
* The stillness round my form 
Was like the stillness in the air 
Between the heaves of storm. 

The eyes beside had wrung them dry, 
And breaths were gathering sure 

For that last onset, when the king 
Be witnessed in his power. 

I willed my keepsakes, signed away 

What portion of me I 
Could make assignable, and then 

There interposed a fly, 

With blue, uncertain, stumbling buzz, 
Between the light and me ; 

And then the windows failed, and then 
I could not see to see. 



POEMS. 185 



XLVII. 

A DRIFT ! A little boat adrift ! 
*^" And night is coming down ! 
Will no one guide a little boat 
Unto the nearest town ? 

So sailors say, on yesterday, 
Just as the dusk was brown, 

One little boat gave up its strife, 
And gurgled down and down. 

But angels say, on yesterday, 

Just as the dawn was red, 
One little boat o'erspent with gales 
Retrimmed its masts, redecked its sails 

Exultant, onward sped ! 



1 86 POEMS. 



XLVIII. 

SPHERE'S been a death in the opposite house 
*- As lately as to-day. 
I know it by the numb look 
Such houses have alway. 

The neighbors rustle in and out, 

The doctor drives away. 
A window opens like a pod, 

Abrupt, mechanically ; 

Somebody flings a mattress out, 

The children hurry by ; 
They wonder if It died on that, 

I used to when a boy. 

The minister goes stiffly in 

As if the house were his, 
And he owned all the mourners now, 

And little boys besides ; 



POEMS. 187 

And then the milliner, and the man 

Of the appalling trade, 
To take the measure of the house. 

There '11 be that dark parade 

Of tassels and of coaches soon ; 

It 's easy as a sign, 
The intuition of the news 

In just a country town. 



1 88 POEMS. 



XLIX. 

T T 7E never know we go, when we are going 

* * We jest and shut the door ; 
Fate following behind us bolts it, 

And we accost no more. 



POEMS. 189 



L. 

THE SOUL'S STORM. 

T T struck me every day 
* The lightning was as new 
As if the cloud that instant slit 
And let the fire through. 

It burned me in the night, 
It blistered in my dream ; 

It sickened fresh upon my sight 
With every morning's beam. 

I thought that storm was brief, 
The maddest, quickest by ; 

But Nature lost the date of this, 
And left it in the sky. 



190 POEMS, 



LI. 

T T7ATER is taught by thirst ; 
* * Land, by the oceans passed ; 

Transport, by throe ; 
Peace, by its battles told ; 
Love, by memorial mould ; 

Birds, by the snow. 



POEMS. 191 

LII. 

THIRST. 

TX7E thirst at first, 't is Nature's act ; 

* * And later, when we die, 
A little water supplicate 
Of fingers going by. 

It intimates the finer want, 

Whose adequate supply 
Is that great water in the west 

Termed immortality. 



I Q2 POEMS. 



LIII. 

A CLOCK stopped not the mantel's ; 
Geneva's farthest skill 
Can't put the puppet bowing 
That just now dangled still. 

An awe came on the trinket ! 

The figures hunched with pain, 
Then quivered out of decimals 

Into degreeless noon. 

It will not stir for doctors, 

This pendulum of snow ; 
The shopman importunes it, 

While cool, concernless No 

Nods from the gilded pointers, 

Nods from the seconds slim, 
Decades of arrogance between 

The dial life and him. 



POEMS. 193 

LIV. 
CHARLOTTE BRONTE'S GRAVE. 

A LL overgrown by cunning moss, 
" All interspersed with weed, 
The little cage of * Currer Bell,' 
In quiet Haworth laid. 

This bird, observing others, 
When frosts too sharp became, 

Retire to other latitudes, 
Quietly did the same, 

But differed in returning ; 

Since Yorkshire hills are green, 
Yet not in all the nests I meet 

Can nightingale be seen. 

Gathered from many wanderings, 

Gethsemane can tell 
Through what transporting anguish 

She reached the asphodel ! 

'3 



194 POEMS. 



Soft fall the sounds of Eden 

Upon her puzzled ear ; 
Oh, what an afternoon for heaven, 

When ' Bronte ' entered there ! 



POEMS. 195 



LV. 

A TOAD can die of light ! 
** Death is the common right 

Of toads and men, 
Of earl and midge 
The privilege. 

Why swagger then ? 
The gnat's supremacy 
Is large as thine. 



196 POEMS. 



LVI. 



T^AR from love the Heavenly Father 
* Leads the chosen child ; 
Oftener through realm of briar 
Than the meadow mild, 



Oftener by the claw of dragon 
Than the hand of friend, 

Guides the little one predestined 
To the native land. 



POEMS. 197 



LVII. 
SLEEPING. 

ALONG, long sleep, a famous sleep 
That makes no show for dawn 
By stretch of limb or stir of lid, 
An independent one. 

Was ever idleness like this ? 

Within a hut of stone 
To bask the centuries away 

Nor once look up for noon ? 



POEMS. 



LVIII. 
RETROSPECT. 

"TP WAS just this time last year I died. 

^ I know I heard the corn, 
When I was carried by the farms, 

It had the tassels on. 

I thought how yellow it would look 
When Richard went to mill ; 

And then I wanted to get out, 
But something held my will. 

I thought just how red apples wedged 
The stubble's joints between ; 

And carts went stooping round the fields 
To take the pumpkins in. 

I wondered which would miss me least, 
And when Thanksgiving came, 

If father 'd multiply the plates 
To make an even sum. 



POEMS. 199 

And if my stocking hung too high, 
Would it blur the Christmas glee, 

That not a Santa Glaus could reach 
The altitude of me ? 

But this sort grieved myself, and so 

I thought how it would be 
When just this time, some perfect year, 

Themselves should come to me. 



2OO POEMS. 



LIX. 
ETERNITY. 

this wondrous sea, 
Sailing silently, 
Ho ! pilot, ho ! 
Knowest thou the shore 
Where no breakers roar, 
Where the storm is o'er? 

In the silent west 
Many sails at rest, 

Their anchors fast ; 
Thither I pilot thee, 
Land, ho ! Eternity ! 

Ashore at last ! 



If